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Recast RoHS Directive comes into force in the UK

02 January 2013

The recast European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (“RoHS 2” Directive, 2011/65/EU) has now been enacted in to UK law by means of Statutory Instrument 2012 No. 3032.

The RoHS 2 Directive is a CE marking Directive.  Any product which falls within the scope of the RoHS 2 Directive must be fully compliant with the requirements of the Directive before being CE marked and placed on the European market.

The following categories of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) fall within the scope of the RoHS 2 Directive:

Large household appliancesIn scope
Small household appliancesIn scope
IT and telecommunications equipmentIn scope
Consumer equipmentIn scope
Lighting equipmentIn scope
Electrical and electronic toolsIn scope
Toys, leisure and sports equipmentIn scope
Automatic dispensersIn scope
Medical devicesIn scope from 22 July 2014
Monitoring and control instrumentIn scope from 22 July 2014
In Vitro Medical devicesIn scope from 22 July 2016
Industrial monitoring and control instrumentsIn scope from 22 July 2017
Other EEE not covered by any of the categories aboveIn scope

 The purpose of the RoHS 2 Directive is to restrict the use of the following substances:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

Unless carefully controlled, the concentration of these substances in electrical and electronic devices may exceed regulatory limits.  It is therefore essential for Electrical and Electronic Equipment designers to consider the chemical composition of each component before it is added to the product's Bill of Materials (BoM). Effective BoM management can avoid the requirement for unnecessary product grinds and can also enable the various exemptions in RoHS 2 to be fully utilised.

The RoHS 2 Directive places requirements on manufacturers, importers and distributors (collectively referred to as “Economic Operators”).  These requirements include procedures for drawing up technical documentation, the declaration of conformity and CE marking.  But the RoHS2 Directive also requires Economic Operators to take the following action if they have reason to believe that a product is non-compliant:

  • Notify the relevant Market Surveillance Authority
  • Inform the supply chain
  • Take remedial action

Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence in the UK.

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